SHOPPERS have told of their fears that Christmas could be cancelled as new restrictions were brought in.

As mask regulations became mandatory again yesterday, The Argus asked shoppers at the festive market in Brighton's Valley Gardens if they were happy about them. Some believe face coverings should never have been scrapped and some were unhappy at their return.

Fears that Christmas may be cancelled were raised amid concerns about the new Omicron variant.

Heather Iveson, 20, said: "I think the restrictions should have been there the whole time, I don't think they should have gone.

"I still actively wear a mask in shops and I think it's not a question of keeping your self safe it's other people - especially older people at Christmas time if they get ill and have to isolate it could be really hard for them.

"I think it's the sensible and smart option, if you choose not wear a mask it's quite selfish to be honest."

Her friend agreed, Eliza Harding, 22, said: "I agree with what Heather, we should have been wearing them the whole time, I don't understand why we stopped.

"It was more like transport and stuff, like the Tube in London, everyone should be wearing masks - especially with no ventilation."

The Argus: Maiqui Hurtado and Matt GallardoMaiqui Hurtado and Matt Gallardo

Matt Gallardo, also a Brighton resident, says he hopes that Covid cases will decrease with the renewal of regulations.

Matt said: "I work as a nurse at Royal Sussex County Hospital and I think it's a good idea that the rules came back in, the pandemic is still here.

"I think that it's a good way for us to stop it, hopefully we'll see a decrease in cases. It's much safer for us and doctors as well."

Maiqui Hurtado was also touring the market with Matt, she had opted to wear her mask even outdoors - something she has continued to do since the pandemic began.

Maiqui said: "I never stopped wearing a mask since the start of the pandemic, I think it's an added protection and it's for peace of mind as well."

The Argus: Julie Cloak, a performer at Brighton Christmas Festival.Julie Cloak, a performer at Brighton Christmas Festival.

Working at the festival as an elf and a performer in Eurovibes, Julie Cloak, from London, said that while she hopes Christmas goes ahead as planned, she will make the most of it either way.

She said: "We got through last year without our whole families and things, and actually it was all right - if it happens again we'll just have to make the most of it.

"If we all do our bit and wear our masks then hopefully we can have Christmas."

On mandatory masks returning, she added: "I think at the end of the day it's a good thing because we need to get rid of corona. Hopefully being extra careful will mean that Christmas can still go ahead and we can just get on with our lives again.

"It's only a mask at the end of the day, just pop it on and we could be done."

Some of market visitors told The Argus that they believe the government is overcompensating due to criticisms early on in the pandemic.

The Argus: Alison Richards (left) and her mother.Alison Richards (left) and her mother.

Alison Richards, from Bognor, said that while she is not a denier or anti-vaxxer, she does think that there are "other things other than Covid".

She said: "I'm not overly happy about it to be honest. I don't think the numbers have risen and from what I've read about the Omicron variant, the cases are very mild.

"Anyone that's vulnerable has already been double jabbed - I'm getting my booster tomorrow. I just feel like we've got to learn to deal with it, life has got to go on.

"The government were criticised for not acting quickly enough in the first wave so I think they're perhaps trying to over-compensate.

"I just think there's more to life, lots of my friends are dying from other things like stroke and liver failure, I've been to lots of funerals this year - none for Covid.

"I'm not a denier, I'm pro-vax, I absolutely know that it exists, but I just don't want masks to come back, and for kids at school - I've got a 14-year-old at school, they should be able to learn without masks."

Alison added: "I jolly well hope Christmas isn't cancelled, we're booked into our local pub and I really would be gutted. It would be so difficult to get food at the last minute, especially with potential shortages.

"I just think there's wider things going on, and the mental health - I almost get emotional about it - there's just other things other than Covid you know."

The Argus: Jo WilliamsJo Williams

Jo Williams, who is working security for the festival, said that she will not be wearing a mask in enclosed spaces.

She said: "I think it's really stupid. One minute you've got to wear a mask and then you don't and then you do again. It just seems stupid."

Jo says she has already come to terms with Christmas being potentially cancelled: "I'm pretty certain it's going to be cancelled anyway, I've already got it in my head - because of the way things have been over the last year, I guess."

What do you think about mask wearing in shops and on public transport becoming mandatory again? Are you worried about a repeat of last year's Christmas? Let us know in the comments.

Have you got a story for us? Email or contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

You can also call us on 01273 021 400.